India has issued a detailed advice for prospective students wishing to study medicine in China, warning them of the pitfalls, including low graduation rate, compulsory learning of the official spoken language Putonghua, and strict standards of eligibility to practice in India .
The advisory was issued as thousands of Indians studying at Chinese medical colleges are currently stuck at home for more than two years due to the COVID visa ban in Beijing. According to official estimates, there are currently more than 23,000 Indian students enrolled in various Chinese universities. A vast majority of them are medical students.
After more than two years of COVID visa restrictions, China has recently started issuing visas to a select number of students to return. However, most of them struggled to return as there are no direct flights and the two countries are still in talks to work out limited flight facilities, taking into account Beijing’s quarantine restrictions.
The Chinese medical colleges meanwhile started to enroll new students from India and abroad.
Against this background, the Indian embassy in Beijing on Thursday issued a comprehensive advice for students from India who want to study medicine in China.
The opinion has results of the surveys, which outlined the difficulties Indian students face in China and the strict standards they face in qualifying to practice medicine in India.
What is striking about the advice is that only 16 percent of students passed the required test to be allowed to practice in India between 2015 and 2021.
Only 6,387 of the 40,417 students who took part in the Medical Council of India (MCI) FMG (Foreign Medical Graduate) survey from 2015 to 2021 have approved it.
The pass rate of Indian students studying clinical medicine programs in China at 45 accredited universities during that period was just 16 percent, the advisory underlined.
“The prospective students and parents may notice this fact when deciding whether to apply for admission to Chinese universities for a clinical medicine program,” it said.
As for the cost, it said the fee structure is different for different universities and advised students to check directly with the university before getting admission.
The advisory listed 45 medical colleges designated by the Chinese government to award medical degrees for five years plus a one-year internship. Indian students are advised not to seek admission other than those 45 colleges.
The Chinese government has “clearly stated in its official statement that foreign students can only attend medical programs at 45 universities in English”.
“They cannot participate in the clinical medicine program in China that is offered in the Chinese language. They have also clearly stated that any university that offers clinical medicine programs in bilingual mode (English and Chinese) is strictly prohibited,” the consultancy said.
“However, learning the Chinese language is mandatory for clinical sessions. Therefore, every student will also have to learn the Chinese language up to the HSK-4 level. Any student who does not achieve this minimum Chinese language proficiency will not receive a diploma,” it reads.
The advisory also stressed that Indian students studying medicine in China should be licensed to practice in the country where they obtained the degree.
Upon completion of the internship, students must take the Chinese medical qualification exam and obtain a doctor’s qualification certificate to practice in China, the consultancy said.
It is important to clear the qualifying exam to practice in India as the “NMC (National Medical Commission) Regulations of November 18, 2021 states that any prospective student seeking medical training abroad must necessarily be licensed to practice in a graduate’s country upon completion of his/her clinical medicine program before appearing for FMG examination in India,” it said.
Also, the Indian students who are interested in obtaining a medical qualification from China are required to take the NEET-UG (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test-Undergraduate) exam, which is the entrance examination for undergraduate medical training in India, as a prerequisite to pursue medical training abroad, the consultancy said.
“Only students who have approved the NEET-UG for admission to any medical degree program in India are eligible to take the screening test which is the Foreign Medical Graduates Exam (FMGE),” it reads.
On the quality of undergraduate clinical medicine programs in China, the advisory mentioned feedback from former students.
“The embassy has received various feedback from former students who have completed such programs before. One of the most common challenges is the English language skills of Chinese teachers at these universities. Few students have also complained about a lack of practical/clinical experience in dealing with patients at certain universities,” the consultancy said.
She advised prospective students and their parents to look at the National Examination Board’s survey of the success rate of students who have studied at various Chinese universities.
It also advised the students who are planning to enroll in a university in China to check for themselves whether the university is in the list of 45 universities, the duration of the course (as it varies from university to university), the curriculum offered, the language of the instructions, mode of education (online or offline), fee structure and visa requirements before going to China.
“Due to China’s ‘Dynamic Zero Covid Policy’, there are different restrictions and quarantine standards in China, which vary from city to city and are very strict and require full compliance without exception. In addition, these regulations are regularly updated. Therefore, Indian students enrolled in Chinese universities are advised to familiarize themselves with the latest regulations of the travel place and make appropriate arrangements,” the consultancy said.
The consultancy noted that the Chinese Ministry of Education has not published a separate ranking of various Chinese universities offering clinical medicine programs.
However, the embassy has prepared a table according to the pass rate of Indian students in FMG examination, the link of which is given in the advisory.
The advisory said prospective students may want to make their own judgment while making a decision to choose the university as the Embassy or National Medical Council of India has not made a ranking or evaluation of the quality of education provided by these universities. offered to foreign students in China.